Romans 13:11-14 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Romans 13:11
  • Romans 13:12
  • Romans 13:13
  • Romans 13:14

We should live righteously, harmoniously together through faith because we will soon be with God. Paul has shown us how we should live and is now telling us to live this way because the day is approaching—the day of our glorification when we come to the presence of God.

When Paul says Do this, he is referring to the actions that demonstrate righteous, harmonious living through faith, which he told us in chapters 12 and 13. It is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep and practice this righteous living. Love one another, live peacefully with each other, serve one another with the gifts we’ve been given, live sacrificially for God and others, live by faith in God and Christ. Now, Paul is going to answer why we should “do this,” why we should live harmoniously and righteously. One of the answers is because salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.

Paul says, in verse 11, that salvation, or deliverance, is nearer to us than when we first believed in Christ. Paul is talking about glorification salvation, when we are called to heaven, to God’s presence, where we will be given new bodies and will be freed from our body of death (Romans 7:24). “When we believed” refers to when we came to faith in Christ’s death and resurrection. But Paul tells us that the farther away we get from that point in time when we first believed, the closer we are getting to salvation. That can be confusing, because we tend to call the point in time we first believed our point of salvation. But “salvation” just means “something is being delivered from something” and we always must look at the context to see what is being delivered from what. In this case, each day we live we are coming closer to the time we will leave this earth and go to be with Jesus, when we will experience a different kind of salvation, a deliverance from this life and our earthly bodies to the next.

Paul refers to the night as a picture that describes our present, sinful world, and assures us that it will pass away. In its place will be the day when we are taken up into the light of God and Jesus. The night is almost gone, and the day is near, every day that passes is one day closer to this glorious event.

Therefore, we should be ready, we should have this mindset that we are awake from sleeping and we are waiting for the sunrise. Paul is telling us to lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light, to live righteously and harmoniously with each other. He showed us what this looks like in chapters 12 and 13. Paul uses this example of night and day to show that we should live as people behave properly as in the day, compared to how they live in the night. At night and in darkness people are more likely to engage in sinful desires than in the day, when their actions are more on display. We should not live not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. We believers should behave always like we do in the day, properly, with love, harmoniously existing with one another.

Since the time of Adam, mankind has lived in depravity: we fight one another, we are jealous of one another, we use our bodies in ways they were not designed to be used. Paul says, instead of living as the world does, we should put on the Lord Jesus Christ, live in faith and harmony together. One way that we do this is by not placing ourselves in circumstances that strengthen the desires of our flesh. Just like if someone were addicted to a certain drug or action, he should remove himself from situations that may involve that particular substance and struggle. If there is a potential situation that could provide a chance for us to indulge in our sinful and fleshly desires, we should not engage or go near that situation. Instead, we should put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

In this chapter, Paul has shown us further what living harmoniously together through faith looks like and why we should do it. Chapter 13 has shown us that some aspects of harmonious living include obeying authority, loving one another, and not engaging or going near sin and fleshly desires, all because we know that glorification is coming, that soon we will be in the presence of God.

Biblical Text:

11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

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